hello there and welcome to "newsline," it's wednesday, october 22nd, i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. the operator of the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant is planning to take the cover off one of its damaged reactors. the work is in preparation to start removing contaminated debris and spent nuclear fuel. but people in the area are concerned radioactive materials could spread during the process. the cover was installed at the number one reactor building after the 2011 nuclear accident. tokyo electric power workers will begin dismantling it wednesday. they will spray chemicals through holes drilled into the
cover to try to prevent radioactive dust from spreading. the operator hopes to begin full-scale dismantling in march. when debris was removed from another reactor building last year radioactive materials spread. farmers and local authorities feared the rice paddies were contaminated. the operator says it will monitor the possible spread of radioactive materials and disclose the data on its website. the japanese government is planning to send a team of delegates to north korea. they will review the progress into the investigation of the fate of many japanese citizens abducted by the north korean agents. the officials will not conduct their own probe. it will include the head of the foreign ministry's asian and
oceananic bureau. and they're expected to reiterate the government's position that resolving the at ducks issue is the top priority. delegations were sent to north korea in 2002 and 2004. they visited locations and facilities believed to be associated with the abductees. this time the delegation is expected to discuss the matter with a senior member of the north korean special investigation committee. the officials are likely to stay in pyongyang for a few days. both sides are arranging their meetings through the embassy in china. japanese government officials say at least 17 people of their nationals were kidnapped in the 1970s and '80s by north korean agents. 12 of them are still missing. officials from japan, china and south korea have met for the first time to discuss ways to respond to cyber attacks. they agreed to make efforts to advance confidence-building in this field. china's foreign ministry hosted
the meeting. the japanese delegation included officials from the ministries of defense and internal affairs. details of the discussions were not disclosed, but they reportedly agreed to continue their talks on the subject. china has also been criticized by the u.s. and other countries for its involvement in cyber attacks and spying. japanese officials say their chinese counterparts explained the country's policies on combating cyber attacks. the three nations agreed too facilitate corporation, but there's been no face-to-face talks until tuesday's meeting because of soured relations with japan. hong kong government officials and student protesters met face to face to try to end their stalemate. it's their first direct talks since the demonstrations began more than three weeks allege. representatives from both sides gathered at a school in the territory. >> translator: today's dialogue is in line with the hopes of
citizens to ease the present tensions in hong kong society through this dialogue. >> translator: we called on the government to hold talks months ago. we got this opportunity at last. all hong kong residents must have realized that we have to struggle to win a chance for a dialogue. >> the student protest began after china's parliament announced hong kong's electoral reforms. candidates for the 2017 chief executive will now be vetted by a committee dominated by communist party supporters. in the talks, the students demanded that the decision be retracted. they repeated calls for a system that allows candidates backed by residents to run in the election. government officials rejected the demand. they said hong kong does not have an independent political system. and that china has responsibility for the region. but they added the report to beijing that there was some opposition to the chinese
government decision. thousands of protesters watched the meeting through a live tv broadcast. they've been occupying sections of three major roads. the student leaders told reporters they'll continue their sit-ins, while they discuss the outcome of the talks with other groups. government officials said they were able to better understand the views of demonstrators. they said they want to have more discussions with the students. japanese leaders are looking at the latest numbers for imports and exports, but trade isn't heading in the direction they'd hoped for. we're joined now with the latest in business. ai, what do the latest figures tell us? >> trade ministry officials tell us they're still in the red. it marked the 27th straight month when imports were basically worth more than exports. that is the longest run of trade shortfalls since comparable data became available in 1979. the officials say preliminary figures show the deficit last month was more than $8.9
billion. that's up 1.6% from a year ago. the balance of trade has been in the red since july 2012. exports rose 6.9% in yen terms from the same month last year. imports increased 6.2%. now, those numbers were worse than what economists had been expecting. let's get an update on how tokyo stocks are for the day. ramin mellegard is at the tokyo stock exchange. how are they reacting? >> investors tend to see what's happening on wall street, and we saw a sharp rise in the stock markets there. we're seeing the rally continue into tokyo trading. let's have a look at the nikkei and topix. there we go. 15,116, up 2%. the broader topixthe first few trading. just to remind viewers, the nikkei fell sharply on tuesday. it was down 2%, following the 4% gain on monday.
so we're still getting that volatility that we saw from last week. that hasn't gone away. analysts say one reason was china's economic growth figures, gdp at 7.3% came in at the slowest pace since the 2008 global financial crisis. the chinese numbers came out on tuesday, of course. investors in europe and the u.s. were less worried as actually reports that the european central bank is planning to buy corporate bonds to help push share prices there. london and frankfurt, paris all trading higher, as well as new york. investors in japan may have some concerns after the release of the government's monthly reports which was released when markets closed yesterday on tuesday. it showed that it's downgraded its assessment of the economy for a second consecutive month. citing a fall in industrial output. so that's a bit of a concern. also, stocks of currency sensitive exporters, such as autos and consumer electronics, will be a focus. a weaker dollar, of course, puts
the squeeze on the profits of a lot of japanese exporters. one bright spot may be for japan's electronic parts and electronics makers, they may see more orders on the back of increased orders for products such as apple's iphone and other smartphones as well. that's one area that may be a bit of a positive. ai? >> ramin, are any of the concerns over economic growth having effect on where the dollar/yen is trading? >> definitely. we've seen a lot of movements in the dollar/yen pair right now. 107.02 to 05. it's trading in the stable range. investors will be watching out for the consumer price inflation data for the u.s. later today. analysts are expecting a slight improvement for september. a fall may dent investor sentiment and u.s. government bond yields may fall as well. we'll check that.
that's basically the outlook right now in the first few minutes of trading. i'll see how the morning trading session progresses and have another update in a few hours. >> i'll talk to you then, ramin. ramin mellegard at the tokyo stock exchange. eu is handing down fines of more than $120 million to three banks for bringing a key interest rate. u.s. banking giant jpmorgan and swiss bank ups and credit suisse increased the prices of the benchmark lending rate. in december, they handed out fines totaling more than $2 billion to six other financial institutions for their role in the scandal. more for you next hour in business. here's another check on markets.
french government officials say they're ready to take on ebola in west africa. they plan to begin full-scale clinical testing in guinea, using a drug developed by a japanese company. >> translator: we'll conduct a clinical study with the medic e medicine. we'll know the result by the end of this year. >> a team from the french national institute of health and medical research will conduct
the testing. the medicine was developed as an anti-influenza drug. it has yet to be approved as a treatment for ebola, but it was administered as an emergency measure on patients in france and spain. researchers say they chose the drug because it's already available in large amounts. they also said the drug is easy to administer, because it's taken orally. the team will test the drug on about 50 patients in southern guinea. if the results are positive, the medicine will be given to more patients to confirm its effectiveness and safety. officials at the world health organization are also planning to start clinical tests of ebola drugs in west africa. but their choice of medicines is still limited. effective drugs for ebola are still unavailable seven months after the w.h.o. reported the outbreak of the disease. the experimental drug developed by a u.s. form is said to have worked on some patients. but stocks reportedly ran out,
and it's not known if the company will produce the drug again. the w.h.o. team is working with britain's oxford university, along with the ngo doctors without borders. they plan to start clinical tests in west africa next month. w.h.o. officials are now choosing medicines to test. the number of ebola patients is on the rise. more than 9,200 people have contracted or are suspected of contracting the virus. health experts say the number could top 10,000 this week. iran has pledged wide support to iraq in its fight against islamic state militants. the insurgent group is gaining ground in northern and western iraq, despite air attacks by the u.s. and its allies. yiky prime minister al abadi visited tehran for the first time since he formed a shia-led government last month.
a body called for iran's cooperation in fighting islamic state. he said the group is a threat to the entire middle east. rohany said his country will provide all kinds of support to its neighbor. shia dominated iran sees the sunni militant group as a major threat. they're providing weapons to kurdish forces in northern iraq who are fighting islamic state in the region. the northern syrian city of ayn al arab, or could banny in the kurdish language, is the latest to help the campaign by the islamic state extremist. the city sits on the turkish border and the kurds are the majority of its population. kurdish forces are trying to defend the city with the help of the u.s.-led coalition. residents have been fleeing the violence and taking refuge on the other side of the border. our reporter has the report. >> reporter: the city of ayn al
arab is a border town. >> reporter: as many as 180,000 people from syria has come in since the islamic state started attacking their hometown. there is no official refugee camp around. they are scattered everywhere. this 50-year-old man said he fled syria two days with 14 other families. >> translator: fighters of islamic state suddenly appeared and took away all our belongings and land. they killed men, women and
children. we had no choice but to run away. >> reporter: 120 members are taking shelter at an unfinished building with bare concrete floors. they didn't bring much with them. local people have given them some mattresses and tarps. they get water from a nearby mosque. >> translator: i have never imagined sleeping at a construction site. i heard on the news that the u.s. and france were helping the kurds. but we received no help. >> reporter: this day was an important holiday for muslim people. women were cooking muttton they managed to find.
>> translator: in our village, we were safe and sound. now children ask for this and that, but we cannot give them what they want. >> reporter: u.s. coalition forces have been bombarding islamic state targets. the u.s. military's central command said the air strikes appeared to have slowed the militant group's advance. on sunday, the u.s. military brought weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to kurdish forces defending the city on the ground. but the men from the area say the attacks of the coalition have so far achieved little. i asked them about foreign
fighters of islamic state. >> translator: islamic state fighters hardly spoke arabic. many were speaking french. even if we pleaded for help, they did not understand. they refused to listen to women and children. anyone who did not obey their orders was killed. >> reporter: islamic state advance is pushing more people out of their homes. and refugees are multiplying, creating a new humanitarian crisis. nhk world, turkey. near the syrian border. now, a glimpse of a place we rarely get to see. tides along the coast of the sea of japan has created remote caverns. few images of the formations existed until now. nhk underwater cameraman shares
what he saw when he took the plunge. >> reporter: this island lies 500 meters from the west coast of wakasaka. no human lives here, but according to legend, it's the home of a god. accompanied by a local guide, we explore the island's caves. a rock sits in front of the island. there's an opening at the bottom. the waves have carved out a sea cave. i dived in and beheld a magical sight. erosion has created a vision of beauty. light enters the cave through
cracks. blue is the only color on the spectrum not absorbed by the water. the blue is reflected by the ocean floor and the rocky walls. small fish swim here. this place protects them from predators. the western side of the island faces the open sea. waves pound the rocky surface, forming more sea caves on the precipice of the island. >> translator: we can almost see the caves now. over there. >> reporter: this is one of the island's biggest caves.
the water here is about five meters deep. our team finds a tunnel. ten meters from the entrance, we spot a yellow growth. this grows in places where sunlight can't reach. it looks like a dandy lion that grows in the dark. the team enters the cave. further in, the water becomes shallow. the ocean floor begins to appear. we reach an area above water where we can walk.
we discovered a large colony of bats on the ceiling. >> translator: it was more than expected. this island is so inspiring. because there are so many more parts that are yet to be explored. >> reporter: humans have stayed away. so the caves are the home of many small creatures. they, as well as the blue light, make the caves seem like a magical vision. nhk world, wakasa. a british documentary film won the top award for this year's japan prize. nhk sponsors the annual contest for educational programs and audio/visual works now in its 41st year. the honorees and creators
gathered in tokyo for the ceremony. >> the grand prix japan prize of 2014 goes to project wild thing! [ applause ] >> project wild thing depicts a father who tries to get children, including his own, who are hooked on digital screens to go outside. he appoints himself the marketing director for a brand called nature. >> look around you. the kids are having an amazing time. and the reason they are loving it here because they are outdoors and in the open air and in the mud and in the sun and they are happy. >> the documentary was produced by green lions and brit doc foundation. jurors praised the film for conveying with humor messages that appeal to all generations. 320 entries from 62 countries and territories competed for this year's prize. japan's crown prince attended the awards ceremony and hopes producers continue to create rich educational content and promoting international cultural cooperation.
in the preschool category the best work award went to nhk's "the secret of black and yellow." and in the primary category, "lizard girl" won the top award. the tv program was produced by british production company feel good fiction. it's time now for a check of the weather. people in tokyo are feeling a little chilly and seeing gray skies this morning. meteorologist robert speta tells us what to expect ahead. >> it doesn't look like the cooler temperatures are going to be going away anytime soon. we have the frontal area stretching from northern portions of japan down to south korea, the tail end of it actually moving out of eastern china. this is already bringing rain showers specifically for western japan. one area upward of about 80 millimeters recorded in the last 12 hours alone. some of these storms with it, very heavy. a threat of localized flooding
or potential for landslides in the steeper elevations. as it drifts off to the east, it will move across tokyo. in the afternoon hours the light showers will be picking up to rain showers and threat of stronger thunderstorms coming out of this. off to the north, though, these clear skies are starting to work their way in. that is is the leading edge of this cooler air mass. so for many people across the country, temperatures are actually going to be dropping down here. you'll see in tokyo, actually, a high of 16 here on wednesday. thursday, though, going down to 14. and the overnight low could even push into the single digits for some people. off to the north, slight warm-up across hokkaido. still, temperatures for the highs for many people into the single digits. with all these cooler temperatures, i do want to talk about the changing of the season out here, the fall colors. at least at this point, most of hokkaido, you're starting to see the peak of the season, as far as that foliage is concerned. down to the south across
northern hon chu, it will be setting in over the next several weeks, especially in the higher elevations starting to see the changing the colors. really, this is looking at the peak, the average peak for this time of year. with the cooler temperatures already coming in, it may be a little earlier than normal. let's talk about ex-hurricane gonzalo pushing across northern portions of europe, and it has brought the gusty winds out here. 104 kilometers per hour off there towards scotland. down to the south, 72 kilometers per hour in the low countries, gusty winds. the whole storm system is not over. it is pushing off towards the east, into the balkans. bringing that threat of severe thunderstorms. actually, some damaging winds up to about 80, 100 kilometers per hour. in the higher elevations, i do want to mention, over 70 centimeters of snowfall across the alps, over the mountains in the balkan peninsula.
you could be seeing heavy snowfall. winter definitely on its way in. moscow, seeing snow on monday and tuesday. but you could see the snow is over with. still very chilly. only a high of minus 5 there on your thursday. let's move over to north america now. i do want to mention a tropical low down here. this is actually somewhat the remnants of trudy. a tropical storm back over the weekend. it made landfall there in mexico. that could push to the east and bring rainfall for the sunshine state. not really feeling like sunshine out there for you. once that pushes overhead by the end of the week. off to the north, we have a nor'easter bringing rainfall, needed rain. we actually have drought for parts of new england. coastal areas could see flooding as it pushes off. some areas as much as 100 to 120 millimeters of rain very well could occur with this. even travel plans. if you're flying across this area, do expect the risk for some delays. i'll leave you now with your extended forecast.
>> hello and welcome to "global 3000," your weekly check on the global issues that affect us all. and here's what we have coming up for you today. protecting the mountain ghosts, kyrgyzstan's last snow leopards. how slum dwellers become farmers. we visit an unusual project in the philippines. and meet the gangster league -- how football training helps beat crime in south africa. now, there are those animal species whose survival chances give us telling insights into the state of their habitat. just like the blue whale or the panda bear, the snow leopard is an iconic creature. only around 6,500 animals are believed to still exist, spread